LAHORE - The three-day anti polio campaign as part of the National Immunization Day started yesterday.

The campaign was held in the rest of Punjab from December 14, except Lahore. Lahore district started the campaign whereas the rest of Punjab is conducting 14-day catch-up activity.

About 1.6 million children of below five years of age in Lahore are being administered polio drops, said Punjab’s Director Expanded Program on Immunization Dr Munir Ahmed.

Lahore has been polio free for the last four years and for the last two months environmental samples have been negative as well. The provincial metropolis is also being specifically focused due to high number of migrant and mobile population travelling from polio reservoir areas. Pakistan has had 51 polio cases in 2015 so far with only one in Punjab.

EPI Director said Punjab introduced IPV (inactivated injectable polio vaccine) in routine immunisation in July this year for children aged 14 weeks and above. Globally, the introduction of IPV along with OPV has been seen to be the best strategy for polio eradication.

He further said that with commitment from the highest political leadership, the province has seen a steep increase in routine immunisation coverage. The Neilsen survey to ascertain routine immunisation coverage is already underway. He urged the health department officials to work with a spirit of volunteerism to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

ICH lacks equipment: Lack of equipment and shortage of space is taking lives at Institute of Child Health and Children’s Hospital Lahore, doctors say yesterday. The institute, offering treatment in 23 specialties, lacks necessary facilities that are causing increase in the number of deaths in a day.

“Extra ordinary rush of patients is hampering service delivery in every ward. Two to three patients are getting treatment on one bed.

This is causing one patient to get complication of the other sharing bed. Equipment like ventilators are insufficient to cater the requirement of such a large number of patients. The prevailing scenario is leading to increase in death rate”, said Dr Khuzaima Bokhari.

Medical Director Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore, however, contradicted the claims of duty doctors, saying that all 54 ventilators were in working conditions. He admitted that the health facility was overloaded.

“753 patients came to emergency and out of these 370 were admitted yesterday. Only four deaths occurred in medical unit 2 in last 48 hours. Out of them two died within first hour as they were critical. Majority of patients need assisted ventilation at time of resuscitation and it is done by Ambu Bagging. We have more than 150 Ambu bags,” he said.

He said that Children’s Hospital was amongst top institutions regarding provision of healthcare facilities.

Children’s Hospital scored 100 percent in all 91 parameters in recent inspection of Healthcare commission, he claimed.